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Remimazolam to prevent hemodynamic instability during catheter ablation under general anesthesia: a randomized controlled trial.

PURPOSE: Maintaining hemodynamic stability during cardiac ablation under general anesthesia is challenging. Remimazolam, a novel ultrashort-acting benzodiazepine, is characterized by maintaining comparatively stable blood pressure and does not influence the cardiac conduction system, which renders it a reasonable choice for general anesthesia for cardiac ablation. We aimed to evaluate whether remimazolam is associated with a decreased incidence of intraoperative hypotension compared with desflurane.

METHODS: In this single-centre, parallel-group, prospective, single-blind, randomized clinical trial, we randomized patients (1:1) into a remimazolam group (remimazolam-based total intravenous anesthesia) or desflurane group (propofol-induced and desflurane-maintained inhalational anesthesia) during cardiac ablation procedures for arrhythmia. The primary outcome was the incidence of intraoperative hypotensive events, defined as mean arterial pressure of < 60 mm Hg at any period.

RESULTS: Overall, we enrolled 96 patients between 2 August 2022 and 19 May 2023 (47 and 49 patients in the remimazolam and desflurane groups, respectively). The remimazolam group showed a significantly lower incidence of hypotensive events (14/47, 30%) than the desflurane group (29/49, 59%; relative risk [RR], 0.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.31 to 0.83; P = 0.004). Remimazolam was associated with a lower requirement for bolus or continuous vasopressor infusion than desflurane was (23/47, 49% vs 43/49, 88%; RR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.41 to 0.76; P < 0.001). No between-group differences existed in the incidence of perioperative complications such as nausea, vomiting, oxygen desaturation, delayed emergence, or pain.

CONCLUSIONS: Remimazolam was a viable option for general anesthesia for cardiac ablation. Remimazolam-based total intravenous anesthesia was associated with significantly fewer hypotensive events and vasopressor requirements than desflurane-based inhalational anesthesia was, without significantly more complications.

STUDY REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT05486377); first submitted 1 August 2022.

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